Written by editor Nicole Bennett of Gidget Goes Home.

Ah, that mending pile. It seems to fall into the category of to-do items that contains things like Mary Poppins’ carpetbag… that is to say, it seems never-ending. There is always a button to sew back on, a strap to repair, a hole to patch. And if you like to repurpose and upcycle, then the options are endless as to what could end up in the pile.

So today, let’s take a tip-toe-ing baby step towards that pile and organize it a bit. I think that might help the tasks seem a little less daunting. Are you with me? I’ll use my own collection of things that need attention to guide us through this little experiment.

When we moved I whittled my mending pile down to things I actually and really want to fix, repair or tailor. Here are a few ways I’m determining what to work on when.

What to consider when prioritizing the mending pile

1. Size

Top priority will be mending items that belong to kids who will potentially outgrow said items soon if they don’t get fixed pronto. If I don’t really care about the item I will probably just give it away (I have to consider the worth of my time after all) but if it’s handmade or super cute, it’s naturally worth the time to fix.

These two dresses have been sitting here too long already (the handmade one on the right actually broke when my five-year old was wearing it, ahem), so they are taking first priority.

2. Simplicity

I like to get the easy jobs out of the way first so I feel like I’m making quicker progress through the pile. Sometimes this will take priority over even size if I’m really motivated– but a button on a a pajama top can wait a bit longer so I make sure to fix the dresses Hallee is on the verge of outgrowing.

But generally speaking, sewing on a button is one of the simplest and quickest mending jobs, and there’s really no excuse for its sitting in the mending pile for months on end, other than my own laziness. 😉

3. Season

The next qualification I will probably look at is what season a particular item belongs to, or in other words, how soon do I need it fixed?

For me, these summery tops that need to be taken in/straps shortened need to be taken care of sooner than this fall-colored dress that needs a new zipper. I’ll use the nightie and tank top as soon as they’re fixed, whereas the thrifted dress can wait since I’m imagining it with boots anyway (it’d be cute in summer, too, if I get my act together, but it’s less pressing as you can see).

4. New skill required

Finally, do I need to learn a new skill to mend something? If so, it’s going to take last priority.

I’ve never replaced elastic on a swim diaper or gotten wax out of a vintage linen, so these projects will have to wait, since I’ll need to do some research and take a bit more time to figure the job out.

How’s your mending pile looking? How do you decide which jobs to tackle first?